Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt
Latest News

Big Ten Leaders Continue To Say All The Right Things About Scheduling; Is the SEC Listening?

gfx - honest opinionBig Ten leaders are trying to be proactive when it comes to scheduling in the soon-to-dawn age of a college football playoff.  The league has already decided to use a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2016.  In addition, the Big Ten has decided to put down some new guidelines for its schools when it comes to their non-conference scheduling options: no games against FCS opponents and at least one game each year against a team from one of the other major conferences.

Readers of this site know that we are in favor of the SEC doing the exact same thing.

With the Big Ten holding its annual meeting this week, a number of Big Ten personalities opened up about their league’s push to toughen up its scheduling:

 

“We want to get out of the business of scheduling games that feel like scrimmages to our fans… Football can be pretty boring in September if you don’t create great contests.  We don’t want to be boring.  We want to strengthen the schedule to create more excitement early in the season…. Yes, you’re going to take a few losses, but, ultimately, you’ll become more competitive.” — Michigan AD Dave Brandon

“It’s a little more difficult (to draw fans) with 60-inch TVs and the price of concessions and having to wait in line to go to the bathroom.  We have to do our part for the in-game experience, but who we’re playing is also (important).” — Illinois AD Mike Thomas

“We collaborate a lot.  If we’re looking for a game, does somebody know about one?  Let’s say somebody had a team on their schedule, but for whatever reason, they needed to move the game.  Maybe you call Purdue and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got X.  You looking for a game?’  And maybe you trade-off.  It’s kind of a co-op.  We work together and try to help each other schedule.” – Penn State AD Dave Joyner

 

For those who missed it, Michigan coach Brady Hoke also got on Notre Dame’s case this week for “chickening out” of future games against his Wolverines.

The Big Ten’s moves to beef up its scheduling — and its loud talk of doing so — should aid Jim Delany’s league moving forward.

First, playing teams from the other major conferences guarantees — in most cases — home-and-home contracts.  That will result in Big Ten football getting exposure in the West and in the South where the population is booming.  Population growth has slowed or stalled in the Big Ten footprint, a point that Delany himself has made when explaining his conference’s decision to expand.  Big Ten teams visiting the Southern or Western states should help on the recruiting front.  With its own talent pool drying up, there couldn’t be a better time for the league to take its show on the road.  And even when Big Ten teams host teams from the ACC, SEC, Big XII or Pac-12, they will still get attention from prospects in the ACC, SEC, Big XII and Pac-12 regions.

Second, going public with its scheduling plans — and doing so very loudly — will help create the perception that the Big Ten is a leader when it comes to non-conference scheduling.  When a selection committee for the new College Football Playoff convenes in 2014, strength of schedule is supposed to be an A-1, top-shelf consideration.  The Big Ten’s self-propelled image as a tough schedulin’ league coupled with a committee that will likely want to bring in teams from all over the country could help Delany’s schools gain invitations.

The old quote attributed to Muhammad Ali comes to mind: “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”

For SEC fans rolling their eyes at our thumbs-up to the Big Ten, keep in mind that the Big Ten currently makes more money than any other conference while also maintaining the best academic reputation.  All while dealing with a growing talent gap produced by its location in an area of the country that’s being passed population-wise.

SEC fans might not like Delany, but he and Larry Scott of the Pac-12 are progressive, strategic-thinking conference commissioners who must be taken seriously.  Each has made more money for their leagues than anyone thought possible without the benefit of seven BCS titles in a row.  The SEC leaders should take note of what the Big Ten is doing now (as well as keeping an eye on the marketing-minded Scott to the West).  You can be sure that Mike Slive is paying attention.

When the SEC first decided to add Texas A&M and then Missouri in 2011, talk of a nine-game schedule was scuppered by the league’s football coaches and ADs.  With a playoff on the way, a new SEC Network to program, and more money to be made, the SEC suddenly is considering a nine-game slate (something we’ve predicted would eventually be adopted since way back in 2011).

Georgia AD Greg McGarity had this to say about the SEC’s scheduling plans this week:

 

“We’re still talking while we’re getting a model on the eight-game schedule, the nine-game idea is going to be tossed around as move forward.  We’re not sure if that will ever happen and if it does, when would it happen?  We’ve been so focused on the eight-game schedule for 2014 and maybe ’15, that we really haven’t focused on the nine-game schedule.  I know interest is picking up on it.  We have not discussed it as athletic directors.  We will discuss it at a later time.”

 

For months, SEC officials have suggested that a new three- or four-year scheduling cycle would be released at some point this offseason (with the league meetings in Destin later this month being the earliest possible release date).  Now McGarity is suggesting that an eight-game schedule isn’t even guaranteed for 2015.

Good.

If teams are in a conference, they should play one another as often as possible.  And if the SEC is as good as everyone says it is — and as good as we at MrSEC.com believe to be — its teams should also follow the Big Ten’s lead and nix games against FCS foes while scheduling at least one team per year from a major conference.  Instead of three or four cupcakes to feast on, that would mean some SEC squads would have to make due with just two.  Tough break.  Those programs frightened of playing tough competition can always join Conference USA or the Sun Belt.

The SEC has built-in advantages that should help give its schools the courage necessary to stop scheduling patsies and start scheduling more — if nothing else — decent teams each year.

Far more NFL prospects come out of high schools in the SEC footprint than from any other league’s region.  SEC schools have the biggest, finest, newest facilities in America.  Fan passion in the SEC is unmatched.  And in case you haven’t been keeping up, the SEC is about to make more money than its ever made before… ensuring that its schools’ facilities never grow too old and that their recruiting budgets never dip.

The SEC has been a leader, not a coward in years past.  That’s obviously served the conference well as its racked up more national titles than any other league since adding a first-of-its-kind conference championship game.  But at the current time, the SEC is not a leader on the scheduling front.  The Big Ten is leading the way.

The SEC should man up and follow suit.

Nine conference games per year.  No games against FCS foes.  At least one game per year against a team from a major conference.

That’s bold planning.  Kudos to the Big Ten for leading the way.

 


18 comments
SEC 1
SEC 1

The "Big 10" could play 12 conference games and their schedule would be weak... Lets see, Indiana, Illinois, Perdue, Minnesota, and coming those football powers 

Maryland, and Rutgers. They have at best 4-5 good football teams annually, and once in a while 1-2 really good teams. The SEC has won the last 7 BCS titles and 

last year had 6 of the top 10 tens in the BCS standings. The second tier SEC teams would annually compete for a top 3 finish in the "Big 10". One division in the SEC is

 tougher than all of the Big 10. Take your pick East or West. The last 3 Big ten teams to play Bama a total of 4 games lost by an average of about 30 or more.....

The only reason that the Big 10 or any other conference say Pac 12 wants to see more conference games is so that the SEC will beat each other up even more and

give them a better chance to play for a title...Plain and Simple!

Paris10
Paris10

Kentucky has to play eight conference games and Louisville.

Wonder what some Big Ten school would pay to get a home and home with this powerful member of the the SEC?

RussH
RussH

Hard to make up 10M for a missing home game. 

SouthernBoiSB
SouthernBoiSB

As I've read on other sites, should the SEC "pair up" with another conference for said game?  Or should it be up to each school to pick somebody for that slot?

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

Absolutely, and if they keep membership at 14 for the foreseeable future, they should strongly consider going to a 10 game conference schedule and allow the intrastate rival to count as the good power conference game.  At 10 games, each team plays their 6 division foes, and permanent cross division rival, and 3 of the remaining 6 cross division teams per year.  So, everyone plays each other at least every two years.  Until the bowl committees drop the 6 win requirement, the new playoff selection committee shows that they really will select based on strength (not just overall record), and SEC schools are shown that TV revenue will more than make up the gap of not having a 7th home game every other year, 10 games has no chance.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@SEC 1 

You're falling into the trap of believing that everyone sees things just as you do.  But Bob Stoops and Charlie Weis -- just in the last week -- made it pretty clear that they don't believe the SEC is as tough as you make it out to be.  Numerous columnists -- some in the SEC footprint -- agreed with them.

Now, are you willing to place faith in a selection committee -- made up of people with ties to various conferences -- seeing the SEC just as you do? 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

@Paris10 Despite their record and history, UK is a top 20 revenue program.  Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Iowa gross more, so more than half the B1G would be glad to play UK.  It would be a step up in terms of revenue potential.  UK travels, even for football.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@RussH 

A school might only lose that 7th game every other season.  Also, even if a school made $10 million for a home game -- and most studies have shown it's closer to $3 million -- the new playoff money, SEC Network money, and Sugar Bowl money will MORE than make up for any lost revenue from a home game.  That's a smokescreen.  Schools want seven home games because it's more likely they'll win at home than on the road.

Now, a TOWN would miss that extra revenue -- restaurants, hotels, etc -- but schools wouldn't lose a dime in the grand scheme of things.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

KellyJones2
KellyJones2

@RussH Using 10 mil (seems high for net revenue), each team would have to make up 5 mil average a year because they would have 7 home games every other year.  5 mil a year is more palatable to make up for a vastly increased quality of product.

DanHogan
DanHogan

 @SouthernBoiSB I personally doubt it will ever happen with so few non-conf games to spare, but I really like the concept.  Maybe an SEC/ACC alignment does make sense and could incorporate the existing in-state games (first read that idea on this site).  Otherwise, I'm not holding my breath. 

The fact that some teams would be forced into it is probably a good thing since the current way hasn't shown signs of working until now.  But, the real benefit to me is the idea that opponents could be finalized as late as the spring of the previous year.  There wouldn't be as much flexibility as the basketball challenges, but there would still be a reduced risk of a match-up between high-tier and mid- to low-tier BCS programs.  As an example, Michigan State has a series lined up with Oregon in a few years.  Imagine Oregon continues to fly high and MSU slides a bit more.  That match-up doesn't help either program -- or at least doesn't provide enough up-side to balance the loss of a home game.  

DanHogan
DanHogan

@KellyJones2  I would think the target now should be 10 *BCS* games and not 10 conference games.  We'd effectively never see an SEC team play outside the SEC other than the bowl games.  


The 6-game requirement is an interesting component of this, though.  We've seen so many sub-par teams playing in December seeing that all they have to do is beat 4 push-overs and then steal 2 conference games.  If you force them to win 3 out of 8 conference games, that's a bit better.  But, if a team is playing 10 opponents at the BCS level, they're forced to win 4 times against reasonably good teams.  This will be the first time I've ever typed this, but I'm not sure the 6-win requirement should be increased at that point.  To go 6-6 with 10 BCS games, you'd almost have to beat another bowl eligible team or two along the way to get there.

DanHogan
DanHogan

@John at MrSEC @SEC 1  If the SEC really is that strong (and, yes, for the time being I think it is), then beating all of that lower competition from other leagues should be easy.

RussH
RussH

Granted, I am counting a little more about total revenue including donations divided by home games.  But even then, consider 100k people at 100 bucks a game is 10M..... WAY WAY more than 3M.

Maybe A&M is on the high side here, but I do not think it is unreasonable number including parking passes, consessions and of course... .donations for my tickets

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

@DanHogan We already have a SEC/ACC games on the last saturday of the season. Ga/GT SC/Clemson Fl/FSU and VU/WF

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@RussH 

But remember, there are expenses every time the gates open for a game.  Workers, power, water, etc.  That's more expensive than you think... which is why schools often ballpark the value of a home game at around $3 million... depending on the school.

That said, if SEC schools start bringing in $10-15 million more in the next 2 or 3 years -- as our sources have indicated -- and if that figure continues to rise as years pass -- and it will -- the price of a home game is going to be covered.

Not trying to be argumentative and I see where you're coming from, but the loss of a home game's worth of revenue every other year is very much a smokescreen.  Much like the old "We can't stretch football into a second semester" and "We can't kill off the bowls" anti-playoff arguments.  In the end, they were hollow.

Also, keep in mind that unti the NCAA OK'd 12 games per year in the early-2000s, most schools played six or seven home games, not seven or eight.  Again, the cash isn't the big factor no matter how much they scream that it is.

Again, many thanks for reading our site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@DanHogan @viciousdawg 

Actually, I believe I just suggested it COULD be done -- in theory.  I would rather see teams play their conference rivals more often -- 9-game schedule -- and still schedule one good non-conference game per year.  So I'm not technically FOR an alliance with the ACC or Big XII.  I just wrote that it IS possible.

At the time, there was talk of the SEC wanting to raid the ACC or protect it.  We said that an SEC/ACC alliance would help protect it... which an SEC/Big XII alliance might help destroy it.  But that was before John Swofford convinced his schools -- rather impressively, I might add -- to sign a grant of rights agreement.

Thanks, as always, for reading the site,

John

DanHogan
DanHogan

@viciousdawg @DanHogan Yes, exactly, that was John's article at the time.  He wants to (or, at least wanted to) expand that arrangement to include all 14 teams on both sides. I see it as a way of *not* adding the 9th conference game and still lets everyone schedule one more tough BSC squad if they want.  And I assume other challenge games wouldn't have to be the last game of the year and could be defined by the conferences or even the ESPN. 

Trackbacks

  1. Suggested Looking at

    Big Ten Leaders Continue To Say All The Right Things About Scheduling; Is the SEC Listening? – MrSEC.com | SEC Football News | SEC Basketball News | SEC Football Recruiting | SEC Basketball Recruiting

  2. Dermatologist Houston

    Big Ten Leaders Continue To Say All The Right Things About Scheduling; Is the SEC Listening? – MrSEC.com | SEC Football News | SEC Basketball News | SEC Football Recruiting | SEC Basketball Recruiting



Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC